Resources related to Breeding Habits

Alaska-Yukon Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey 2010

Waterfowl breeding conditions within the survey area depend largely on the timing of spring
phenology. A very mild spring breakup occurred in Interior Alaska, due to very low winter snow
fall resulting in lower than normal water levels across the Interior. Spring breakup, while
initially delayed, occurred normally throughout the majority of Coastal Alaska.

Atlantic Seaduck Project

The Atlantic Seaduck Project is being conducted to learn more about the breeding and molting areas of seaducks in northern Canada and more about the feeding ecology of seaducks on wintering areas, especially Chesapeake Bay. Satellite telemetry is being used to track surf scoters wintering in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, and black scoters on migrational staging areas in New Brunswick, Canada, to breeding and molting areas in northern Canada

Sex-biased winter philopatry in Harlequin Ducks: are waterfowl really an exception to the rule?

Many birds species exhibit a resource based mating system where males defend breeding territories. This mating system is thought to have lead to male-biased philopatry as male birds are better able to defend familiar territories. In contrast, female waterfowl are more likely than males to return to their breeding grounds. Waterfowl are the exception because males cannot economically defend breeding territories and a mate-defense system has evolved. However, waterfowl pair in the winter.

Molt and the basic plumage of male Harlequin Ducks

Using observations on 28 individually marked male Harlequin Ducks from mid-June until late November, we describe plumage changes which occur as individuals proceed from the alternate plumage through basic to the return of the new alternate plumage. We also describe the timing of these events, at the individual and population level. Conspicuous white tertial feathers which become visible early in the period of the basic plumage present a challenge to existing theories to explain the function of the drab basic plumage.

Moult Chronology And The Timing Of Pairing In Harlequin Ducks

Unlike most other birds, waterfowl pair on their wintering grounds, not the breeding grounds. Across waterfowl species, larger dabbling ducks pair the earliest (starting in November), smaller dabblers and diving ducks pair closer to the spring. Very little is known about the pairing chronology of sea ducks. A small (60 -100 birds) moulting and wintering population of Harlequin ducks was studied from June to November 1995 to assess the moulting and pairing chronology of this population. Males returned from the breeding grounds in June and July, and immediately began the pre-basic moult.

Molt Speed Predicts Pairing Success in Male Harlequin Ducks

The bright plumage of male ducks in sexually dichromatic species is thought to have evolved through intense sexual selection. This study examined the relationship between the timing and speed of moult into this bright plumage and subsequent mating success of male Harlequin Ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus). Males which molted relatively slowly had a lower chance of establishing a pair bond than others. The timing of molt was unrelated to whether a male obtained a mate. Molt speed and timing were not correlated within individual males.

Timing Of Pairing And Molt Chronology Of Harlequin Ducks

Winter pair formation is one of the more unique aspects of waterfowl biology. Besides the dabbling ducks, relatively little is known about the chronology of pair formation and factors, such as molt chronology, which cause the between individual variation in the timing of pair formation. A small (60 - 100 birds) molting and wintering population of Harlequin ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) was studied from June to November 1995 to assess the molting and pairing chronology of this population.

Winter Philopatry In Harlequin Ducks: Implications For Their Conservation In The Strait Of Georgia, BC

Habitat use and requirements for wintering birds has only recently received attention compared to breeding habitat use and requirements. For waterfowl, quality wintering habitat is important for not only surviving the winter period, but for courtship and pair bond formation as well. Harlequin Ducks are a small sea duck that nest on mountain streams and winter on coastal rocky shores. We have been marking a portion of the Harlequin Duck population in the Strait of Georgia with small tarsal leg bands annual ly since 1993.